Virginia receives first delivery of electric school buses

New fleet saves environment and children

Virginia school leaders unveiled 50 new electric school buses in Campbell County to be distributed to several different areas.

CAMPBELL COUNTY, Va. – School officials are putting the pedal to the metal and plug to the outlet when it comes to rolling out new, electric buses.

The fleet is the first of its kind in Virginia, and it was on display Tuesday.

The 18-month project was led by Floyd Merryman Inc. and Dominion Energy.

“One of these buses is the equivalent of taking more than five cars off of the road,” said Dan Weekley, vice president of policy and implementation of technology for Dominion Energy.

The fleet of 50 buses is being delivered to 13 school districts across the Commonwealth.

“When you compare the clean, electric bus to the diesel bus, from a carbon dioxide perspective, it’s the same as having about 32 acres of trees per bus per year,” Weekley added.

“These buses are zero-emission, tailpipe-free buses. No fossil fuels. They have two, 110-kilowatt-per-hour battery packs. And that will give us a range of about 130 miles,” said Floyd Merryman, president and CEO of Sonny Merryman Inc.

Each bus can hold 77 passengers, but they’re blocking off every other seat because of COVID.

The seats also have three safety belts, keeping every child safe.

And when the buses aren’t helping to save the planet while on the road transporting children, they’ll be sitting in parking lots being used like generators.

“When these vehicles aren’t operating, they’re sitting in the bus yard plugged in. And when Dominion needs energy to cool office buildings or school buildings in the middle of the summer, they’ll be able to take energy out of these batteries during the day,” said Merryman.

Acting as storage units, they’ll help power the grid.

Officials hope to receive state funding so they can roll out 1,500 electric buses within the next five years.

About the Author:

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.